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Midnight Oil's Music Igniting Global Citizens.

The 1990s in a small German town felt quaintly uneventful, even after the momentous fall of the Berlin Wall. The world seemed vast and distant, a feeling a teenager craves to escape.

Enter Midnight Oil, the Aussie rockers who crashed through the radio waves, their music becoming more than just a soundtrack – it was a passport to a different world.

Unlike the bubblegum pop dominating the charts, Midnight Oil tackled serious issues head-on. Songs like "Beds are Burning" were a revelation, igniting a spark of social conscience. The plight of Indigenous Australians, a world away, resonated deeply.

Suddenly, news reports about rainforest fires felt like a personal blow. "Power and the Passion" became a tune on repeat, a critique of corporate greed that struck a chord with a teenager drowning in a sea of consumerism. Their music wasn't background noise; it was a conversation starter, urging one to question the status quo.

But Midnight Oil offered more than just righteous anger. "The Forgotten People" shone a light on the struggles of refugees and the marginalized, fostering a sense of empathy that transcended borders. "One Too Many Times" mirrored the angst and confusion of those awkward teenage years, but with a hopeful undercurrent that resonated.

Then, many years later, life took an unexpected turn.

A move to Australia – the land Midnight Oil sang about, the land grappling with environmental challenges, the land where their fight for a better world was happening in real time. It was both exciting and daunting.

Australia wasn't just a new country; it was a chance to experience firsthand the issues Midnight Oil championed. "Beds are Burning" wasn't just a protest song anymore; it was a call to action in what was now my own backyard. The towering red cliffs of Uluru and the lush rainforests of Kakadu, once lyrics in a song, became places I could explore. "Blue Sky Mine" wasn't just a lament; it was a reminder to protect the clear skies above me. The environmental message became a personal responsibility.

It did not take too look to understand the magnitude of Midnight Oil on terra australis...Midnight Oil transcended being a band; they were a movement.

Forward to 06 June 2024 and Sydney Film Festival kicked off not with a glitzy Hollywood premiere, but with a primal roar. Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line wasn't your typical opening night fare. This documentary wasn't champagne flutes and red carpets; it was a sweaty mosh pit of a story, a full-throttle exploration of the band that soundtracked a nation's awakening.

The film dives headfirst into the Oils' electrifying early days. Imagine a pack of larrikins with guitars, spitting fire about apathy and injustice.

The establishment? Not fans.

Record companies? More like roadblocks.

But Midnight Oil didn't care about fitting in. They were too busy giving voice to the voiceless.

Then came 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - a sonic earthquake that cracked the world open for them. Suddenly, the Oils were rock royalty, frontman Peter Garrett a beacon, albeit a slightly bald one, for a generation hungry for change.

But fame, like a feral swag dog, can be a fickle companion. Internal struggles brewed, and Garrett's political ambitions threatened to drown out the band's roar. The turning point, however, wasn't some backstage brawl. It was a humbling encounter with the Warumpi Band, a revelation that ripped the blinders off their privilege and ignited a deep respect for Indigenous voices.

This newfound awareness seeped into their music, birthing the global anthem Beds Are Burning. Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line isn't just about catchy tunes and charismatic dance moves (though let's be honest, Garrett's stage presence is legendary). It's a call to arms, a reminder that music can be a weapon wielded by those who refuse to be silenced.

So, the Sydney Film Festival didn't just open its doors in 2024, it blasted them open with a primal scream. Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line wasn't a documentary, it was a homecoming. A return to the raw energy that made Midnight Oil legends, and a potent reminder that the fight for justice never ends. Just crank up the volume and prepare to be unleashed.

After Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line premiering at Sydney film festival tonight, it will be released in Australian cinemas on 4 July


Words by AW.


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